BCSO History

California Map Circa 1850Butte County was incorporated on February 18, 1850, as one of California's original 27 counties. Our first Sheriff, J.Q. Wilbur, was elected in June of that year to bring law and order to the 12,800 square miles that comprised the county at the time.

The term of Sheriff was originally set by the Legislature at two years; in 1880, the term was increased to four years. After more than a decade of vacillating between two and four years, the length of term was permanently settled at four years in 1897.

The first Butte County Jail was in the county-seat town of Hamilton from 1850 to 1853; the second in Bidwell Bar, where voters had elected to move the county seat, from 1853 to 1856; and the third jail was in the basement of the courthouse when the county seat was permanently established in Oroville in 1856. By that time, the county had roughly assumed its current boundaries and size of 1676 square miles. But even as the county was shrinking in size, both the population and crime were rapidly increasing, and all three jails were commonly in use and at capacity.

1904 Sheriff's Office and JailIn 1904, a new Sheriff's Office and Jail was completed at Huntoon and Robinson, 30 feet south of the Butte County Courthouse. A 'bridge of sighs,' which was a wire covered ramp, led from the second story of the jail directly into the upstairs courtroom, where a south window was made into a door. We moved to our current location on County Center Drive in 1965. The empty jail and original courthouse were so heavily damaged in the August 1975 earthquake that they had to be demolished.

The Sheriff's Office now has facilities at three locations on County Center Drive: Administration and the Jail at 33, the East Facility at 31, and the Day Reporting Center at 51.

Butte County Sheriffs

NameTotal Term
Joseph Q. WilburJune 1850 to December 1851
Everett K. DodgeJanuary 1852 to December 1853
Peter FreerJanuary 1854 to December 1857
Nathaniel Dunbar PlumJanuary 1858 to December 1859
William O. MiddletonJanuary 1860 to December 1863
Frank Warren DayJanuary 1864 to December 1867
Thomas Franklin MillerJanuary 1868 to December 1871
Samuel L. DanielsJanuary 1872 to December 1875
William SchneiderJanuary 1876 to December 1877
Fred Adams SpragueJanuary 1878 to December 1882
Samuel McClellanJanuary 1883 to December 1886
John Miller BallJanuary 1887 to December 1890
Robert Allen AndersonJanuary 1891 to December 1894
Sylvester "Dutch" Henderson WilsonJanuary 1895 to April 1904
James Marquis ChubbuckApril 1904 to December 1910
John Brooks WebberJanuary 1911 to December 1914
William Robert RiddleJanuary 1915 to December 1918
John Brooks WebberJanuary 1919 to December 1922
Robert Nelson AndersonJanuary 1923 to December 1926
Charles William "Bill" TolandJanuary 1927 to December 1934
Alvin Stanley KisterJanuary 1935 to September 1937
Robert Herbert "Herb" TaylorSeptember 1937 to December 1942
Walter Herbert "Herb" ForwardJanuary 1943 to December 1950
George Lawrence "Larry" GillickJanuary 1951 to December 1982
Hal T. BrooksJanuary 1983 to December 1986
Leroy WoodJanuary 1987 to December 1990
Mick GreyJanuary 1991 to December 1998
Scott A. MacKenzieJanuary 1999 to December 2002
Perry L. ReniffJanuary 2003 to December 2009
Jerry W SmithJanuary 2010 to May 2014
Kory L. HoneaMay 2014 to Present